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What are whiteheads and how can you keep them at bay? (Special remedies inside)

According to an expert, whiteheads commonly appear as round, small, white bumps on the surface of the skin when the pores become clogged with dead skin, cells, sebum and debris.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
December 18, 2021 9:10:50 am
whiteheads, skincareWhiteheads are extremely common and are considered a form of comedonal or low grade acne vulgaris. (Photo: Pexels)

Whiteheads are extremely common and are considered a form of comedonal or low grade acne vulgaris. “Acne can be divided into two categories: non-inflammatory and inflammatory. Comedonal acne is non-inflammatory and includes blackheads (open) and whiteheads (closed). Comedonal acne gets its name from the term comedo, which means pore, which is the root of any type of acne,” said Dr Aseem Sharma, chief dermatologist, Skin Saga Centre for Dermatology, Mumbai, and medical consultant-Entod Pharmaceuticals.

The expert added that whiteheads commonly appear as round, small, white bumps on the surface of the skin. This acne type occurs when the pores become clogged with dead skin, cells, sebum and debris. “The clogged pore consists of a thin skin layer which makes it look white, and lends this name to it. Whiteheads are usually common on the shoulders, face, chest, neck and back. The size of whiteheads can vary and sometimes these are so small that they are virtually invisible,” he said.

Difference between whiteheads and blackheads

Both whiteheads and blackheads are the most common forms of comedonal acne. The key difference between these two blemishes is that in the case of a whitehead the pore is “closed from the top with a soft layer of skin while blackheads are open and exposed to air (the oxidation of sebum and dry skin causes the black appearance)”.

“Whiteheads are often filled with bacteria, dead skin cells and sebum but have a microscopic opening on the surface of the skin. Unlike blackheads, whiteheads do not turn black since the sebum present inside the pore doesn’t oxidise because of a lack of exposure to air supply,” he explained.

whiteheads, skincare Whiteheads are often filled with bacteria, dead skin cells and sebum but have a microscopic opening on the surface of the skin, said Dr Sharma.

Home remedies to get rid of whiteheads

There are several ways to treat or prevent those odd-looking whiteheads. Some of them are:

Steam
When the skin is exposed to steam, the pores tend to open up, temporarily. For people with whiteheads, it is always a good idea to expose the part of the body with the whitehead to steam on a regular basis until it goes away.

Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. A majority of facial washes, cleaners and toners have tea tree oil as an ingredient. Tea tree oil preparations can be applied directly to the whitehead with the help of a cotton pad.

Avoid junk food
Junk food or food that is deep-fried can lead to oiler skin which can cause whiteheads or blackheads. Therefore, it’s always best to avoid oily food and replace those with healthy alternatives like fresh fruits and vegetables.

Cleansing
At least twice a day with a cleanser / face wash that suits your skin type.

A good skin care routine
A consistent skin care routine always helps in the long run, not only with acne, but with pores, blemishes, acne marks and overall skin health.

Stay hydrated
Drink plenty of water every day. Water hydrates the skin from within and helps improve the overall complexion.

“There are several natural ways to reduce the occurrence of whiteheads and prevent breakouts. It is crucial to stick to a good skincare regime to improve overall appearance and health,” Dr Sharma said.

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